Backpacking 101: Checklist of things to plan for

Most travelers dream of hitting the road with the most essentials packed into the lightest load. When planning to travel with only the necessities on your back, deciding what you need to bring on your trip can be an overwhelming process.

You shouldn’t carry too much unnecessary weight on your back or worse, heavy items that take up so much space that you miss out on packing essentials such as sunblock, insect repellant, or your handy pocket knife. So before you hit the road, run through your backpacking checklist and start filling it up with some of this essential gear.

If you are a first-time backpacker, one of the most important things to start early on is a visa, and if you’re traveling to a neighboring country or going on an expedition with a group of people, it is important that all your travel documents are correctly collated. Check iVisa.com to apply for your eVisa and Health Declaration.

Here is a list of items that you can pack that will make your trip a light one:

A durable backpack

Your backpack has to fit your body (height and torso length) properly and brave the elements like rain, dust, and a heavy fall if need be. Also, make sure to get a bag that has many zip-up pockets and compartments for optimal packing.

Sleeping bag

Sleeping bags come in a variety of sizes, either spacious or streamlined, and a wide range of materials. For a backpacker traveler, sleep is very important, so you won’t sleep well if you’re cold, so consider these key factors when picking one:

  • Rate of temperature: you should pick a sleeping bag rated a bit lower than the typical low temperatures you anticipate.
  • Insulation type: The big choice is between down or synthetic. Synthetic offers solid performance at an affordable price, but down is more sought after because it’s lighter and more compressible.
  • Weight: The quality of your insulation and the cut of your bag are big factors. When you are comparing weights also compare bags with a similar temperature rating.

First-Aid Kit and Toiletry Bag

Your personal hygiene and safety should come first, so your toiletries and first-aid kit are very important. Make sure to pack a bar of soap, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, and toothpaste, toilet paper, wipes, moisturizer, as well as any prescription medications you may need. Take along an SPF-rated sunscreen and lip balm.

Clothing and footwear

When packing clothing, pack according to the predicted weather. Keep in mind that gentle hikes on smooth trails usually require hiking shoes or trail runners while steep hikes on rocky, rugged trails will likely require a sturdy pair of hiking boots.

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